Friday, September 6, 2013

Walker Falls Short On Corrupt Sweetheart Deal

Last week, I reported on the corrupt sweetheart deal that Scott Walker and his Teapublican allies in the state legislature was in the process of signing off on.  In a nutshell, what Walker and the Teapublicans were trying to do was give a never-ending stream of taxpayer money to a thinly-veiled political action group.

The mainstream media finally caught on that something wasn't up to snuff and did something I had thought they might have forgotten how - investigative journalism.

First, it was found that the group misrepresented itself, claiming to have a tax-exempt status which they do not have:
The group, which has close ties to Republican politicians and other conservative organizations, now says its president, Andy Pantzlaff, was confused when he told state committee last week that United Sportsmen had been approved by the federal Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. United Sportsmen has also stated that on its letterhead in a letter to the state.

"Mr. Pantzlaff did not speak directly with the foundation’s counsel concerning the 501(c)(3) status, and was mistaken about the exemption process," a statement issued by the group reads. "There was no intent to mislead anyone and, in fact, the 501(c)(3) is not required for the purposes of the current grant application with the state of Wisconsin. The foundation apologizes for any confusion caused by this misunderstanding."
Despite this, Walker's DNR toady Cathy Stepp sent them a check for $50,000 anyway.

It was also learned that Andy Pantzlaff, president of the fraudulent group was convicted of hunting without the proper license. Keep in mind that the money-give away to this group was so that they could teach people how to hunt properly.  That would be like Robin Vos and Michele Litjens teaching people how to preserve their marriages through fidelity.

Finally, one of Walker's handlers must have finally smacked him up side the head and pointed out that this was becoming rather problematic and would have a negative effect on both of his campaigns (gubernatorial and presidential).  I say this because Walker reluctantly announced that he was stopping the taxpayer-funded campaign revenue stream (emphasis mine):
Gov. Scott Walker late Thursday canceled a controversial $500,000 grant to a sportsmen's group with little training experience but close ties to GOP politicians.

The decision was announced only hours after the Journal Sentinel asked state officials about a 2005 case in which the president of the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation Inc. was cited for hunting with an improper license.

In a statement, Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said she spoke with Walker on Thursday and he canceled the grant to United Sportsmen, which had been aimed at promoting the state's sporting heritage. Instead, Walker ordered the DNR to find other means to achieve that goal.

"We also agreed that it is essential for any organization that receives financial support from the state to have the trust of the public in its capabilities to produce concrete results. Even though United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation Inc. did and does still meet the statutory criteria established by the Legislature for the grant award, the governor asked me to not finalize the grant award. I will honor this request and fully support this decision," Stepp said.
This will not do. This group, especially its leader, committed fraud. They should not only not get the money, they need to return the $50,000 that Stepp already gave them. Furthermore, because they tried to commit fraud, they need to be charged for the crime - and in a real court of law, not one of the DNR's rinky dink slap-on-the-wrist pantomimes.

Don't hold your breath for that to happen any time soon.  Under the current regime, corruption is not only acceptable, it is encouraged.

Ah, but wait, there's more.  There's always more.

As I pointed out in my article, as Walker was trying to arrange this money-laundering scheme, he was also manipulating things so that this false front group would have digs in the Mackenzie Center.

Sure enough, the same DNR that was going to give the fraudsters all that money had decided to deny the bid from Wisconsin Wildlife Federation - the only bid they received - to keep running the center (again, emphasis mine):
The Department of Natural Resources has rejected the only bid it received - from current tenant Wisconsin Wildlife Federation - to run the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center in Poynette.

Instead, the agency will run the facility itself, according to a Thursday statement.

And contrary to its stated intentions when it opened the bid process in February, the DNR will very likely increase its spending on the center, an agency official acknowledged.

The DNR said to "address a nationwide decline in hunting, angling and trapping, we will begin work to develop a new outdoor skills curriculum" at the center.
Wow! Now isn't that just coincidental!

As I said before, this whole thing was a scheme to give this front group a flow of taxpayer money to use for helping keep Walker in elected office so that his corporate masters could continue to pillage the land unabated. To do so, Walker was also going to give the Mackenzie Center to this group as a false address for them to work out of.  They were counting on people not to pay attention.

And don't think for a minute that this is over.

Given Walker's modus operandi, he will find another patsy in the legislature to again get this money to be secretly sent to another front group, in the hopes that they can continue with the plan of using it for political purposes.

Heck, the way things are going in this state, I wouldn't be surprised if someone goes to the Mackenzie Center on January 2nd and find some private security guards walking around in camouflage and with assault rifles.  And I wouldn't be surprised if the corporate media turns its collective head and whistles while it looks the other way.


  1. This skunk will never change his stripe. I would be willing to bet that the WWF will still get the money thru the septic tank............Walker free in 2014

  2. now will he also rescind his appointment of scott suder to the psc?

  3. It was public campaign finance, to replace the money he stole from that trust. Just dedicated to one candidate.

  4. Where did you find evidence that the DNR had released the $50,000 downpayment? There's a letter that said they would send it... but did that actually happen?

    1. "The agency awarded the grant Tuesday and gave United Sportsmen a $50,000 advance. Normally, groups with such “capacity-building” grants file for reimbursement for already-incurred expenses once a year, DNR officials said at last week’s hearing."

      Read more:

  5. Here is what Cathy Stepp said in an email to DNR employees today, from someone embarrassed to work for the agency now run by Stepp:

    From: Lamers, Holly J - DNR On Behalf Of Stepp, Cathy L - DNR
    Sent: Friday, September 06, 2013 3:07 PM
    Subject: DNR has canceled grant to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation
    Importance: High

    As you know, DNR is faced with big decisions every day. We make those decisions based on fact, feedback from the public, and what we are required to do by law. Sometimes the decision-making path is clear. Other times, these three components aren’t completely aligned, making the path harder to find. This scenario presented itself over the past several days.

    Last week the Sporting Heritage Grant Committee – created by the Legislature in the budget – recommended that the DNR award the $500,000 Sporting Heritage grant created by budget Act 20 to the non-profit United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation to focus on recruitment and retention of sportsmen and women.

    Last night Gov. Walker and I decided to not finalize the grant award to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation, Inc.

    Though the group did and does still meet the statutory criteria established by the Legislature for the grant award, the Governor and I agree that it is essential for any organization that receives financial support from the state to have the trust of the public in its capabilities to produce concrete results.

    In light of new information that has come to our attention and the many concerns raised by citizens of the state, as well as state officials, we felt it was in the public’s interest to cancel the grant, which we did today.

    Moving forward, Gov. Walker has asked DNR to develop plans in cooperation with the diverse set of organizations that do great work with recruitment and retention. It remains a priority of mine to engage the next generation of sportswomen and men, and continue to strengthen the outdoor heritage of Wisconsin.
    Cathy Stepp
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    Madison, WI 53703